The latest medical research on General Practice (Family Medicine)

The research magnet gathers the latest research from around the web, based on your specialty area. Below you will find a sample of some of the most recent articles from reputable medical journals about general practice (family medicine) gathered by our medical AI research bot.

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Cause and incidence of injuries experienced by children in remote Cape York Indigenous communities.

Australian Journal of Primary Health

Indigenous children experience a disproportionally high number of injuries, particularly in remote communities. This study aimed to investigate: (1...

Increasing use of general practice management and team care arrangements over time in New South Wales, Australia.

Australian Journal of Primary Health

The number of older people living with chronic health conditions is increasing in Australia. The Chronic Disease Management (CDM) items program was...

Systolic Blood Pressure and Cognitive Decline in Older Adults With Hypertension.

Annals of Family Medicine

Hypertension trials often exclude patients with complex health problems and lack generalizability. We aimed to determine if systolic blood pressure (SBP) in patients undergoing antihypertensive treatment is associated with 1-year changes in cognitive/daily functioning or quality of life (QoL) in persons aged ≥75 years with or without complex health problems.

We analyzed data from a population-based prospective cohort study (Integrated Systematic Care for Older Persons [ISCOPE]) with a 1-year follow-up. Stratified by SBP level in the year before baseline, we used mixed-effects linear regression models to evaluate the change from baseline to 1-year follow-up in outcome measures (Mini-Mental State Examination [MMSE], Groningen Activity Restriction Scale [GARS], and EQ-5D-3L). We adjusted for age, sex, and baseline MMSE/GARS/EQ-5D-3L scores and stratified for complex health problems as a proxy for frailty.

Participant (n = 1,266) age averaged 82.4 (SD 5) years, and 874 (69%) were women. For participants undergoing antihypertensive therapy (1,057; 83.5%) and with SBP <130 mm Hg, crude cognitive decline was 0.90 points MMSE, whereas in those with SBP >150 mm Hg, it was 0.14 points MMSE (ie, 0.76-point less decline; P for trend = .013). Complex health problems modified the association of SBP with cognition; the association was seen in those with antihypertensive treatment (P for trend <.001), not in those without (P for trend = .13). Daily functioning/QoL did not differ across the strata of SBP or antihypertensive treatment.

Participants aged ≥75 years undergoing antihypertensive treatment, with SBP ≥130 mm Hg compared to <130 mm Hg, showed less cognitive decline after 1 year, without loss of daily functioning or QoL. This effect was strongest in participants with complex health problems. More studies should be conducted to determine if there is a causal relation and to understand the mechanism of the association observed.

Loneliness in Primary Care Patients: A Prevalence Study.

Annals of Family Medicine

Loneliness has important health consequences. Little is known, however, about loneliness in primary care patient populations. This study describes the prevalence of loneliness in patients presenting for primary care and associations with self-reported demographic factors, health care utilization, and health-related quality of life.

We conducted cross-sectional surveys of adults presenting for routine care to outpatient primary care practices in 2 diverse practice-based research networks. The 3-item University of California, Los Angeles Loneliness Scale was utilized to determine loneliness.

The prevalence of loneliness was 20% (246/1,235). Loneliness prevalence was inversely associated with age (P <.01) and less likely in those who were married (P <.01) or employed (P <.01). Loneliness was more common in those with lower health status (P <.01), including when adjusting for employment and relationship status (odds ratio [OR] = 1.05; 95% CI, 1.03-1.07). Primary care visits (OR = 1.07; 95% CI, 1.03-1.10), urgent care/emergency department visits (OR = 1.24; 95% CI, 1.12-1.38), and hospitalizations (OR = 1.15; 95% CI, 1.01-1.31) were associated with loneliness status. There was no significant difference in rates of loneliness between sexes (P = .08), racial categories (P = .57), or rural and urban respondents (P = .42).

Our findings demonstrate that loneliness is common in primary care patients and is associated with adverse health consequences including poorer health status and greater health care utilization. Further work is needed to understand the value of screening for and using interventions to treat loneliness in primary care.

Trends in Providing Out-of-Office, Urgent After-Hours, and On-Call Care in British Columbia.

Annals of Family Medicine

Providing care in alternative (non-office) locations and outside office hours are important elements of access and comprehensiveness of primary care. We examined the trends in and determinants of the services provided in a cohort of primary care physicians in British Columbia, Canada.

We used physician-level payments for all primary care physicians practicing in British Columbia from 2006-2007 through 2011-2012. We examined the association between physician demographics and practice characteristics and payment for care in alternative locations and after hours across rural, urban, and metropolitan areas using longitudinal mixed-effects models.

The proportion of physicians who provided care in alternative locations and after hours declined significantly during the period, in rural, urban, and metropolitan practices. Declines ranged from 5% for long-term care facility visits to 22% for after-hours care. Female physicians, and those in the oldest age category, had lower odds of providing care at alternative locations and for urgent after-hours care. Compared with those practicing in metropolitan centers, physicians working in rural areas had significantly higher odds of providing care both in alternative locations and after hours.

Care provided in non-office locations and after office hours declined significantly during the study period. Jurisdictions where providing these services are not mandated, and where similar workforce demographic shifts are occurring, may experience similar accessibility challenges.

Antibiotic Prescribing for Acute Respiratory Tract Infections 12 Months After Communication and CRP Training: A Randomized Trial.

Annals of Family Medicine

C-reactive-protein (CRP) is useful for diagnosis of lower respiratory tract infections (RTIs). A large international trial documented that Internet-based training in CRP point-of-care testing, in enhanced communication skills, or both reduced antibiotic prescribing at 3 months, with risk ratios (RRs) of 0.68, 0.53, 0.38, respectively. We report the longer-term impact in this trial.

A total of 246 general practices in 6 countries were cluster-randomized to usual care, Internet-based training on CRP point-of-care testing, Internet-based training on enhanced communication skills and interactive booklet, or both interventions combined. The main outcome was antibiotic prescribing for RTIs after 12 months.

Of 228 practices providing 3-month data, 74% provided 12-month data, with no demonstrable attrition bias. Between 3 months and 12 months, prescribing for RTIs decreased with usual care (from 58% to 51%), but increased with CRP training (from 35% to 43%) and with both interventions combined (from 32% to 45%); at 12 months, the adjusted RRs compared with usual care were 0.75 (95% CI, 0.51-1.00) and 0.70 (95% CI, 0.49-0.93), respectively. Between 3 months and 12 months, the reduction in prescribing with communication training was maintained (41% and 40%, with an RR at 12 months of 0.70 [95% CI, 0.49-0.94]). Although materials were provided for free, clinicians seldom used booklets and rarely used CRP point-of-care testing. Communication training, but not CRP training, remained efficacious for reducing prescribing for lower RTIs (RR = 0.7195% CI, 0.45-0.99, and RR = 0.76; 95% CI, 0.47-1.06, respectively), whereas both remained efficacious for reducing prescribing for upper RTIs (RR = 0.60; 95% CI, 0.37-0.94, and RR = 0.58; 95% CI, 0.36-0.92, respectively).

Internet-based training in enhanced communication skills remains effective in the longer term for reducing antibiotic prescribing. The early improvement seen with CRP training wanes, and this training becomes ineffective for lower RTIs, the only current indication for using CRP testing.

Identifying Adverse Drug Events in Older Community-Dwelling Patients.

Annals of Family Medicine

To evaluate a patient-report instrument for identifying adverse drug events (ADEs) in older populations with multimorbidity in the community setting.

This was a retrospective cohort study of 859 community-dwelling patients aged ≥70 years treated at 15 primary care practices. Patients were asked if they had experienced any of a list of 74 symptoms classified by physiologic system in the previous 6 months and if (1) they believed the symptom to be related to their medication, (2) the symptom had bothered them, (3) they had discussed it with their family physician, and (4) they required hospital care due to the symptom. Self-reported symptoms were independently reviewed by 2 clinicians who determined the likelihood that the symptom was an ADE. Family physician medical records were also reviewed for any report of an ADE.

The ADE instrument had an accuracy of 75% (95% CI, 77%-79%), a sensitivity of 29% (95% CI, 27%-31%), and a specificity of 93% (95% CI, 92%-94%). Older people who reported a symptom had an increased likelihood of an ADE (positive likelihood ratio [LR+]: 4.22; 95% CI, 3.78-4.72). Antithrombotic agents were the drugs most commonly associated with ADEs. Patients were most bothered by muscle pain or weakness (75%), dizziness or lightheadedness (61%), cough (53%), and unsteadiness while standing (52%). On average, patients reported 39% of ADEs to their physician. Twenty-six (3%) patients attended a hospital outpatient clinic, and 32 (4%) attended an emergency department due to ADEs.

Older community-dwelling patients were often not correct in recognizing ADEs. The ADE instrument demonstrated good predictive value and could be used to differentiate between symptoms of ADEs and chronic disease in the community setting.

Visit Planning Using a Waiting Room Health IT Tool: The Aligning Patients and Providers Randomized Controlled Trial.

Annals of Family Medicine

Time during primary care visits is limited. We tested the hypothesis that a waiting room health information technology (IT) tool to help patients identify and voice their top visit priorities would lead to better visit interactions and improved quality of care.

We designed a waiting room tool, the Visit Planner, to guide adult patients through the process of identifying their top priorities for their visit and effectively expressing these priorities to their clinician. We tested this tool in a cluster-randomized controlled trial with usual care as the control. Eligible patients had at least 1 clinical care gap (eg, overdue for cancer screening, suboptimal chronic disease risk factor control, or medication nonadherence).

The study (conducted March 31, 2016 through December 31, 2017) included 750 English- or Spanish-speaking patients. Compared with usual care patients, intervention patients more often reported "definitely" preparing questions for their doctor (59.5% vs 45.1%, P <.001) and "definitely" expressing their top concerns at the beginning of the visit (91.3% vs 83.3%, P = .005). Patients in both arms reported high levels of satisfaction with their care (86.8% vs 89.9%, P = .20). With 6 months of follow-up, prevalence of clinical care gaps was reduced by a similar amount in each study arm.

A simple waiting room-based tool significantly improved visit communication. Patients using the Visit Planner were more prepared and more likely to begin the visit by communicating their top priorities. These changes did not, however, lead to further reduction in aggregate clinical care gaps beyond the improvements seen in the usual care arm.

Primary Care Clinician Adherence to Specialist Advice in Electronic Consultation.

Annals of Family Medicine

Electronic consultation (eConsult) services can improve access to specialist advice. Little is known, however, about whether and how often primary care clinicians adhere to the advice they receive. We evaluated how primary care clinicians use recommendations conveyed by specialists via the Champlain BASE (Building Access to Specialists through eConsultation) eConsult service and how eConsult affects clinical management of patients in primary care.

This is a descriptive analysis based on a retrospective chart audit of 291 eConsults done between January 20, 2017 and August 31, 2017 at the Bruyère Family Health Team, located in Ottawa, Canada. Patients' charts were reviewed until 6 months after specialist response for the following main outcomes: implementation of specialist advice by primary care clinicians, communication of the results to the patients, method, and time frame of communication.

Primary care clinicians adhered to specialist advice in 82% of cases. Adherence ranged from 62% to 93% across recommendation categories. Questions asked by primary care clinicians related to diagnosis (63%), management (27%), drug treatment (10%), and procedures (1%). Recommendations of the eConsult were communicated to patients in 79% of cases, most often by face-to-face visit (38%), telephone call (32%), or use of the patient portal (9%). Communication occurred in a median of 5 days.

We found little evidence of barriers to implementing specialist advice with use of eConsult, which suggests recommendations given through service were actionable. With a high primary care clinician adherence to specialist recommendations and primary care clinician-to-patient communication, we conclude that eConsult delivers good-quality care and improves patient management.

Geographic Characteristics of Loneliness in Primary Care.

Annals of Family Medicine

Loneliness is associated with poor health outcomes, and there is growing attention on loneliness as a social determinant of health. Our study sough...

The Practice Gap: National Estimates of Screening and Counseling for Alcohol, Tobacco, and Obesity.

Annals of Family Medicine

Tobacco use, lack of physical activity and poor diet, and alcohol consumption are leading causes of death in the United States. We estimated screen...

Accuracy of Signs and Symptoms for the Diagnosis of Acute Rhinosinusitis and Acute Bacterial Rhinosinusitis.

Annals of Family Medicine

To evaluate the accuracy of signs and symptoms for the diagnosis of acute rhinosinusitis (ARS).

We searched Medline to identify studies of outpatients with clinically suspected ARS and sufficient data reported to calculate the sensitivity and specificity. Of 1,649 studies initially identified, 17 met our inclusion criteria. Acute rhinosinusitis was diagnosed by any valid reference standard, whereas acute bacterial rhinosinusitis (ABRS) was diagnosed by purulence on antral puncture or positive bacterial culture. We used bivariate meta-analysis to calculate summary estimates of test accuracy.

Among patients with clinically suspected ARS, the prevalence of imaging confirmed ARS is 51% and ABRS is 31%. Clinical findings that best rule in ARS are purulent secretions in the middle meatus (positive likelihood ratio [LR+] 3.2) and the overall clinical impression (LR+ 3.0). The findings that best rule out ARS are the overall clinical impression (negative likelihood ratio [LR-] 0.37), normal transillumination (LR- 0.55), the absence of preceding respiratory tract infection (LR- 0.48), any nasal discharge (LR- 0.49), and purulent nasal discharge (LR- 0.54). Based on limited data, the overall clinical impression (LR+ 3.8, LR- 0.34), cacosmia (fetid odor on the breath) (LR+ 4.3, LR- 0.86) and pain in the teeth (LR+ 2.0, LR- 0.77) are the best predictors of ABRS. While several clinical decision rules have been proposed, none have been prospectively validated.

Among patients with clinically suspected ARS, only about one-third have ABRS. The overall clinical impression, cacosmia, and pain in the teeth are the best predictors of ABRS. Clinical decision rules, including those incorporating C-reactive protein, and use of urine dipsticks are promising, but require prospective validation.